The American Revival of 1905

Many have heard of the Great Welsh Revival of 1904-1905. It touched all classes and ages. Newspapers kept tally as the churches swelled with new converts—over 100,000 in one six-month period. In Cardiff police reported a 60% decrease in drunkenness and 40% fewer people in jail at the New Year of 1905. In Glamorgan the convictions for drunkenness decreased from 11,282 in 1904 to 5,615 in 1907. Stocks of Welsh Bibles were sold out. Profanity was so diminished in the coal mines that the pitponies dragging the coal carts in the tunnels did not understand their commands any more and stood still, confused. Even children held their own meetings in homes and barns.

What is not as well known is the fact that the power of revival spread to America as well as many other countries. Welsh immigrants who lived in Pennsylvania were receiving news of the homeland. Suddenly in December 1904 an awakening began in Wilkes-Barre, and the Rev. J.D. Roberts in one month instructed 123 converts.

By early spring the Methodists in Philadelphia were claiming ten thousand converts, the greatest ingathering since 1880. In Schenectady, New York, the local Ministerial Association heard reports of the great revival in Wales and united all evangelical denominations in meetings for prayer and evangelistic rallies. By January 22, 1905 all the evangelical congregations in the city were packed with awakened and seeking people. In Troy, New York the awakening began during the January week of prayer held in the Second Presbyterian church, and spread to 29 other churches in the city.

Throughout New England the revival spread in the spring of 1905. J. Edwin Orr wrote that “the movement was characterized by an intense sensation of the presence of God in the congregations, as in the Welsh Revival. . . The churches were obviously in the midst of a revival of greater Power and extent than New England had known since 1858.”

The southern states were not overlooked by the Lord. Late in 1904, the Atlanta newspapers reported that nearly a thousand businessmen had united in intercession for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On November 2, with unprecedented unanimity, stores, factories and offices closed in the middle of the day for prayer. Georgia’s Supreme Court adjourned.

In Louisville, Kentucky the press reported “the most remarkable revival ever known in the city is now interesting Louisville. . . Fifty-eight of the leading business firms of the city are closed at the noon hour” for prayer meetings. In March 1905 Henry Clay Morrison said, “The whole city is breathing a spiritual atmosphere. . . Everywhere in shop and store, in the mill and on the street, salvation is the one topic of conversation.”

In Redwood Falls, Minnesota the awakening brought out six hundred men, women and children to interdenominational meetings during temperatures of 22 degrees below zero. A wave of revival touched many of the churches of the Minneapolis area, and W.B. Riley told of a movement in Spring Valley where a sixth of the population professed conversion.

“The Spirit blows where he wills.” Let us press on in prayer that the last years of the Eighties will go down in Minneapolis history as years of great awakening and reformation in the churches and the customs of this city.

Pressing on in prayer with you,

Pastor John

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